Dear Divine Savior Family,
As another school year comes to a close we give thanks for all the ministry that has happened across our campuses. Through the faithful and dedicated work of our pastors, teachers, and staff, thousands children, parents, and congregants heard the life changing Good News. Christ’s love is at the heart of everything we do, and it is truly our privilege to share it with others. Thank you for making this possible each and every day.
On May 17th the Governing Board of Divine Savior Ministries met in Austin, Texas. This was our first meeting in Texas and allowed us to participate in the ground breaking of our Santa Rita Ranch campus. It was a special day and yet another opportunity to give thanks to our God for His blessings on our ministry.
Read on for a summary of our meeting and reports.
We are excited to celebrate with 61 seniors who will graduate this week.
Re-enrollment is currently at 84%, and we are optimistic it will reach 88%. This is on par, or slightly better, than previous years. We are grateful for the work of our admissions team in this process.
It has been another busy Call season for our Doral campus. The following are Calls that have been placed and accepted for new teachers on our Doral Campus for next year:
Campus Pastor - Pastor Schmiege (arrived in January)
Athletic Director - Brian Kasten
High School English - Kyle Fax
Middle School Math- Alana Enger
Assistant Athletic Director - Matt Willems
High School Academic Dean - Scott Sievert
Educational Support Program (ESP) - Kari Fuerstenberg
1st grade - Elise Schmiege
High School Dean of Students - Matt Prost
PreK-4 - Sandy Hemling
High School Science - Perry Lund
Middle School Theology and Social Studies - Joseph Hering
1st Grade - Kelly Hering
High School Math - Zack Scharlemann (MLC Graduate assigned on May 18th)
The following Calls need to be filled:
High School Science
MS Geography and Theology
We have completed thorough descriptions of our early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school curriculums in the form of “course catalogs.” These catalogs will be used as resources for both new DSA teachers and parents as they seek to better understand the philosophy that guides our programs and the expectations that we have for our students.
Our staff will continue to grow professionally with a heavy focus on equipping our teachers to meet the needs of all of the varying needs of the students in our classrooms.
The administrative staff will be going through training modules that highlight the new WELS assessment and growth plans for teachers.
On Palm Sunday 75 volunteers joined forces to create an incredible experience called Journey to the Cross. The event drew 346 people from our DSA and local community.
Over 1,500 people attended the five Good Friday services held on campus.
God absolutely blew us away sending 586 people who attended Easter Sunday worship for a bilingual service held in the high school gym. This was by far the most we’ve ever had in a Sunday worship service and was over 200 more than attended last Easter.
We give thanks for all the great work on our Doral campus!
Delray Beach Campus
The campus in Delray Beach is served faithfully by our team who is working diligently each day to share Christ’s love in addition to promoting the school in various forms.
We hosted a large “Touch a Truck” community event on our campus in March. This was a huge success and brought an estimated 1,200 people to our campus, including many families with young children.
Earlier this year Jennifer Chojnacki accepted a call to teach in our early childhood.
We continue working towards the goal of 40 students for the 2019-20 school year.
We were recently approved for scholarship programs offered by the state for students. These include Step Up for Students, the McKay Scholarship, and the Gardiner Scholarship Program.
A number of summer programs are being held on the campus, and we are actively pursuing more options to increase traffic on our site by offering the use of our space to groups that target our age level, as well as inquiring about community events we can support or assist with in terms of programs led by our staff.
On Easter Sunday we celebrated Christ’s resurrection with 173 people. This was a record attendance for this campus. This included 61 first time and 24 repeat guests!
A new ministry called “We Care” has just kicked off. Its purpose is to visit shut-ins, make hospital calls, bring food to people, help run errands, create prayer teams, and more, all in service to others.
We celebrated 5 baptisms this month.
God continues to bless our Delray campus!
Sienna Plantation Campus
Our campus in Sienna Plantation has a final enrollment of 102 students. These students represent 102 souls who are daily instructed in God’s Word by faithful teachers and staff who work tremendously well together.
Our preschool, in its first year of operation, had 14 students and has been a great addition to our academy.
Re-enrollment has been going well in Sienna Plantation. Currently we have a re-enrollment rate of approximately 75%. We are confident that at least 10 more will complete the re-enrollment process pushing it to at least 86%. We are optimistic it may get even higher than that.
Sienna Plantation is fully staffed for the 2019-20 school year! Our prayers were answered when Ben Melott (middle school) and Elizabeth Melott (1st-2nd grade) accepted Calls to serve on our campus.
Summer plans include the addition of portable units which will house our middle school and allow for additional space in the existing building. These modular buildings will serve as a bridge to our next phase of construction.
Sienna Plantation had their accreditation visit in early March and were renewed for another five years. The entire team, led by Principal Cortright, put in countless hours to ensure that every standard was met in order to have a successful site visit.
For the first year we offered all of the Holy Week Services at DSC-Sienna Plantation. In past years, joint services were held with Christ the Lord. They were a joy, and we had record attendance on Easter and a good number of attendees for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.
We just celebrated Youth Confirmation with four confirmands. The service was well attended, and many DSA 8th graders are asking more and more about confirmation.
Just recently three DSA students approached us asking about baptism, its purpose, and if they, too, can be baptized. What an awesome opportunity for DSC to build on relationships that DSA is creating!
Our DSC council decided to allocate $35,000 for need-based scholarships to DSA. We are grateful for this team ministry approach!
It was a great first year in Sienna Plantation as a member of the Divine Savior Family. We are eagerly looking forward to building on our momentum and pray for God’s continued blessings on this campus, its students and families, as well as our staff.
We enjoyed a wonderful ground breaking ceremony on May 18th! You can learn more about it and see lots of great pictures on our social media platforms.
Our prayer is to begin construction in June. Assuming an 11-month timeline, we anticipate completion of the building in May of 2020.
Emily Hunt was called as Early Childhood Director. She declined the Call. We will continue to work on staffing for the 2020-21 school year.
Head of Early Childhood Education, Shawna Mehlberg, will work remotely to get the Academy licensed, furnished, supplied, and ready to begin serving students. She will be assisted by Pastor Stephen Apt and the good people in Santa Rita Ranch who are eager to see this ministry begin.
We are experiencing strong early interest in this ministry. To date we have over 90 people who have expressed interest in learning more about Divine Savior Academy - Santa Rita Ranch.
We had an outdoor Easter service at Santa Rita Ranch's amenity center. There were 138 people in attendance to hear the good news that Jesus rose from the dead. It was very exciting that 77 of those 138 were guests!
Since Easter, we've experienced a bump in attendance. Average attendance has been around 35-40 each week, since Easter we've averaged 44. Praise God!
We are beginning to plan for the Liberty Hill Independence Day Celebration. We, with the local newspaper, started this festival four years ago. Because it was our idea, we are the only church allowed to have a booth at the event. Last year the event drew over 4,000 people, and we are expecting more this year.
West Palm Beach
We confirmed five 8th graders on Palm Sunday in worship, and this past weekend welcomed in four individuals via adult confirmation.
A new Starting Point Class began this past Monday night.
While Divine Savior Ministries decided not to move forward in merging with The Academic Link (TAL), who is now closing the school effective May 31st, a lease agreement is in the works with the previous teachers of TAL. They will begin as a new entity this summer on campus. A potential merger with this group will be revisited by the Governing Board in the future.
We are preparing for our Vacation Bible School on campus to be held June 17-21. We are already approaching 60 pre-registered children and are expecting to again cap our enrollment at 100.
We are blessed to have a Project Timothy Team from Luther Preparatory School who will be spending 8 days in WPB to help with this outreach event.
The Divine Savior School
Construction of the building started in early May and stopped shortly thereafter. We are told that not all the permitting is in order, specifically they failed to finalize the platting process.
With this delay, our timelines continue to push out. We are not managing this project, which is a blessing in a many ways, but is also implies that we do not control the construction or permitting process. We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust as needed.
Divine Savior Ministries Updates
Core Values Project
Over the last quarter, significant work has been done on the Core Values Project. What follows is summary of our work to date:
Formation of Core Values Focus Group: A focus group of 25 people from our Doral campus was formed to provide feedback on the core values. This group included representation from all groups on campus: church and academy, called and non-called. After initial presentations, small group and individual sessions were held to receive and record feedback on the values.
Feedback Analysis: After the focus groups were held, the feedback was compiled and presented to the Doral administrators and Divine Savior Ministries officers. Over the course of two months, this group discussed and analyzed the feedback for themes.
Addressing Themes: After the themes were discussed, our group identified ways to start addressing these issues. Action items were prioritized for this summer and for following years.
Leadership Meetings: On June 3-4, administrators from all operating Divine Savior Academy campuses will meet in Doral to review the entire process, as well as discuss the 19-20 rollout and implementation of action items.
Phase 1 Rollout: The Core Values and action plan will be rolled out to the entire Divine Savior Team at our back-to-school meetings in July.
The Core Values Project began as an initiative to clarify our culture in order to replicate it on new Divine Savior campuses. The project has been a blessing already, provoking conversations about how we can not only clarify, but improve our culture: the way we work together as a ministry team to serve each other, our students, their families, and our communities to God’s glory.
Marketing Coordinator Tabitha Weber is returning to her home state of Wisconsin at the end of May. She has been a blessing to our team this year and will be missed. In her absence, a search for a Director of Marketing has begun and the first round of candidates will be interviewed in the next two weeks.
We continue to search for a Staff Support and HR Coordinator. More information about this position can be found HERE.
As you can see by the length of this “summary,” God has tremendously blessed Divine Savior. As I write this report, I can’t help but be grateful for all the work of the Divine Savior Team. This truly would not be possible were it not for your gifts and dedication. You are making an eternal difference in the lives of so many. Thank you for your partnership in ministry and we look forward to more continued service together.
In His Service,
Pastor Carlos Leyrer
President - Divine Savior Ministries